May 12, 2014 (by SSgt. Brigitte Brantley) - Exercise Eager Tiger 2014 officially kicked off May 11 at an air base in northern Jordan, bringing together U.S. and Jordanian military forces and giving them the chance to participate in friendly competitions while expressing their commitment to regional security and stability.
RJAF F-16BM #159 landing during Exercise Eager Tiger on May 11th, 2014 at an air base in northern Jordan. [USAF photo by SSgt. Tyler McLain]
Also known as Falcon Air Meet, this annual event gives the countries a chance to enhance their interoperability and relationship while also highlighting each one’s capabilities.
"Eager Tiger has been the premier U.S. Air Forces-Central Command tactical air exercise with our Jordanian partners since its inception in 2004," stated U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. John Hesterman, commander of USAFCENT. "This exercise is designed to challenge our military forces in a variety of disciplines in the air. Our goal is to build relationships and capabilities that will bring us closer together and enhance the region's stability. We are grateful to Jordan
for hosting the exercise and for providing world-class venues and support to the participating nations."
The competitions between the different countries’ fighter pilots and maintainers include a weapons-loading event, an aircraft scramble and a first-run attack scenario. Each one is scored depending on time, safety and a variety of other factors.
In addition to building relationships through flying and support operations, both countries also aim to maintain those relationships by sharing each other’s cultures. One highlight of the weeklong exercise is a social night, which gives the Americans and Jordanians a chance to try foods and experiences similar to what they would share with their families.
Falcon Air Meet’s current project officer said things have only improved over the years.
“The partnership continues to grow with each passing year,” said Royal Jordanian Air Force Maj. Ali Shabana, who has been a part of the exercise since its inception. “The idea of the event is not just the competition itself, but the bringing together of people and sharing of ideas. When people compete, they show their best.”
The goal for this exercise is to build the countries’ relationship and partnership, which in turn will help both air forces continue to grow so they can be prepared for any future situation.